How to avoid black markets for appointments with online booking systems

Rustamdjan Hakimov, C. Philipp Heller, Dorothea Kübler, Morimitsu Kurino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Allocating appointment slots is presented as a new application for market design. Online booking systems are commonly used by public authorities to allocate appointments for visa interviews, driver's licenses, passport renewals, etc. We document that black markets for appointments have developed in many parts of the world. Scalpers book the appointments that are offered for free and sell the slots to appointment seekers. We model the existing first-come-first-served booking system and propose an alternative batch system. The batch system collects applications for slots over a certain time period and then randomly allocates slots to applicants. The theory predicts and lab experiments confirm that scalpers profitably book and sell slots under the current system with sufficiently high demand, but that they are not active in the proposed batch system. We discuss practical issues for the implementation of the batch system and its applicability to other markets with scalping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2127-2151
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Volume111
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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